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Law and Gospel

February 2, 2008

Here’s the document I referenced in my sermon of 2/3/8. 

Let’s talk about it.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Egana permalink
    February 2, 2008 3:48 pm

    “In the sixth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the preacher describes faith in a manner as if the mere inert acceptance of truths, even while a person is living in mortal sins, renders that person righteous in the sight of God and saves him…”

    I don’t get this one. what is “mere inert acceptance?” and what is “living in mortal sins?”

    I accept the Gospel, yet continue to sin in the foolish stupidness of my flesh. So how else should the preacher describe faith to rightly divide the Word?

  2. February 2, 2008 3:53 pm

    Good question. Sinners (who are not living in mortal sins, but still commit sins) are justified by faith alone. But that faith alone is not “mere inert acceptance of truths”. What is it then? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

  3. Egana permalink
    February 2, 2008 4:20 pm

    Gorf is trying to explain it to me: one can accept an item or idea as philosophically True, without interacting with or being changed by it.

    So, in contrast, we who have been convinced of the Truth of the Gospel are in a state of constant interaction with it. We are being changed, from glory to glory, into the likeness of Christ. The truth of the Gospel is not what we merely accept, we experience it and are brought to new life by it. It is the power of God for salvation, not a postulate to be approved or denied.

    Having said that, can it go the other way as well. Can the Gospel be changing a person without that person being able to articulate what’s going on?

  4. February 2, 2008 5:30 pm

    Absolutely it can!

  5. Egana permalink
    February 2, 2008 7:12 pm

    That’s good, because most of the time I can’t articulate all the amazing things the Gospel is fulfilling in my own heart and mind, much less anyone else’s.

  6. Ellie permalink
    February 3, 2008 6:49 pm

    In Thesis XI, what does “the contrition of the Gospel” mean?

  7. February 3, 2008 8:05 pm


    I think I can be confident in saying you are the first person ever to ask that question during the Super Bowl.

    More later. :-)

  8. Ellie permalink
    February 3, 2008 10:44 pm

    Ha ha. My husband had informed me that the Super Bowl did not start until 6 PM, so I was happily blogging away when I realized that the Giants had already scored. :)

  9. February 4, 2008 11:53 am


    John Halton, my Lutheran e-friend in London, responds to your question in the BHT

  10. Ellie permalink
    February 4, 2008 12:56 pm

    Mr. Halton is right, it does appear to be a typo. It should say “the comfort of the Gospel.” His response is very helpful. Thank you!

  11. gardengeekette permalink
    February 4, 2008 3:38 pm

    “In the eleventh place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Gospel is turned into a preaching of repentance.”

    I understand this to mean that the Gospel is not in the repenting of sins (because repentance is something that we do, rather than God?).

    So how does repentance fit into all of this? To me it would seem that repentance is part of our actual interaction with the Gospel (as Egana was talking about above). Therefore, true repentance is not possible before we are saved, before we receive the Holy Spirit. But repentance is necessary, right? because I John 1:19 relates confession to purification of unrighteousness.

    [And a side question that comes to mind… If the Gospel is not repentance, was John the Baptist not preaching the Gospel (Matthew 3)? John was preaching (just?) repentance… because the Perfect Sacrifice hadn’t yet been made…]

  12. February 6, 2008 11:50 am

    Here’s just the beginning of an answer. John preached “Repent and believe the gospel”. So the gospel is not repentance. Repentance is our response to the gospel, or perhaps even an act that can precede faith in the gospel. Repentance is necessary, just like good works are necessary. But we are not saved by repentance, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

    Repentance is also said to be a gift of God. (Acts 5) The Holy Spirit may convict someone of sin before they actually receive the Spirit through their union with Christ.
    But what we want to avoid is the Puritan error of preparationism, that there is some act of repenting that we must do before we can believe the gospel.

    I preached a sermon on this from Luke 3 some years back. I’ll look it up and if I still agree with it I’ll post it.

  13. Egana permalink
    February 7, 2008 2:13 pm

    I have been listening to your most recent sermon. 4 times now. And only upon this last hearing was I able to follow you through from beginning to end, so that I rejoiced with you in your conclusion.

    But I must confess that the first 3 times around you lost me at various points. Even now, my grip is tenuous. This was a really difficult message. There is no way I would have understood you without multiple listenings. Praise God for the tape and CD ministry!

    I have been reading 1 Peter that last couple days, and much of what has been confusing me is clearing up thanks to your explanation of the tension of both the Law and the Gospel being preached in both Old and New Testaments. I think you said that the Law is preached to cause we who believe to run to Christ, who is our Righteousness.

    Am I getting it?

  14. gardengeekette permalink
    February 11, 2008 8:55 am

    Thanks for your response– it helps me understand the issue better!

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